Stanford running back Stepfan Taylor has an alter-ego whom he calls Kulabafi, and Kulabafi likes to have fun. You might want to get used to hearing that name.
He is a fascinating person who likes to make others laugh, and it is refreshing to see joy and laughter coming from the world of college football. More and more, the news coming out of college is about suspensions and arrests, not about a person who tremendously enjoys life. Taylor is surprising because of how crazy (in a good way) he is off the field, as contrasted by what kind of player he is on the field.
On the field, Taylor is as consistent a player as can be found. Off the field, he is an eccentric character looking to add a sense of humor and playfulness to almost any situation. They are opposites, but they come together to make up one of the most intriguing players to enter the NFL in some time.
College football has had its share of controversy in the past year with teams moving into power conferences and the Manti Te’o situation happening. It is a breath of fresh air to see a student athlete who is so excited about life, and so dedicated to making himself an outstanding football player.
Taylor is a bubbly, vivacious character who is full of life, and he is on display that for us all to see. He has an extraordinary gift, and now he is sharing it with anyone following him on twitter (@Kulabafi) or watching the videos he has posted on various social media outlets like the one below.
Make no mistake; it hasn’t always been easy for Taylor. He grew up and dealt with adversity by using his sense of humor to give joy to others. Taylor witnessed his mother’s grief over her sister’s murder at the hands of a serial killer. He tried to help her through it with his sense of humor, and to this day he is still a prankster.
'You always want the best for your mom—even if you're not old enough to understand what is going on'
He also talked about why he likes to make people laugh:
'You just want to see people happy,' Taylor said. 'Once I knew I could make my family laugh, I kept it going from there.'
As college football becomes more and more of a business dedicated to bringing in money for schools, it is harder to find authentic individuals who do things for the right reasons. Taylor is a dynamic personality and one of the more refreshing people to enter the draft in years. It is not hard to smile at his antics and appreciate how much he simply enjoys life.
He is a whirlwind of silliness, and it will endear him to his teammates. Everyone likes to be around happy people, and Taylor will find a lot of people in his corner because of his desire to make other people laugh. He is a player that can make training camps and long flights easier for his teammates because of his off the wall sense of humor.
This doesn’t mean that Taylor isn’t serious about football. Taylor had considerable success at Stanford, where he became the school’s all-time leading rusher during his senior season. Taylor finished his career at Stanford with 4300 yards rushing and 40 touchdowns.
When it comes to his accomplishment, Taylor is the exact opposite from Kulabafi, looking to shine light on his teammates and not himself. Chris Foster of the Los Angeles Times reported on what Taylor had to say about the record:
'If I get it, it will be a team stat,' Taylor says. 'I have been fortunate to be put in this situation, with a great line, a great fullback, great wide receivers and a great quarterback. All of them doing their job makes my job easier.'
The alter-ego allows Taylor to play a little with his own personality, and to bring levity to a locker room that can be extremely tense. His playful style and nature kept things light in the Stanford locker room, and head coach David Shaw has even noticed.
If it sounds like Taylor’s antics are a side show that has the team distracted, think again. Foster talked to Stanford head coach David Shaw:
'I think Stepfan is trying to control this Kulabafi character,' Stanford Coach David Shaw says, playing along. 'I don't know that he's winning that battle right now.'
Taylor isn’t going to blow the doors off of anyone at any specific skill as he doesn’t possess anything considered elite. However, he is very good at just about everything, and he will be a solid running back in the NFL. The video below showcases Taylor's all-around ability.
He gives the quarterback a chance to make a play by finding an open area in the flat, and takes the ball down the sideline with some speed. Taylor shows some power with the stiff arm and takes the ball into the end zone for a touchdown. This play shows everything that he is, and why he can make plays going forward.
Taylor is in the process of getting drafted in the 2013 NFL draft, and he will be a tremendously popular figure in an NFL locker room. He is one of the best running backs available in the 2013 NFL draft. He had a strong week of practices at the Senior Bowl, where teams took notice of his football skills.
Not only can Taylor run the ball, but he is proficient in pass protection, a skill that is mandatory at the next level. He has the requisite size to anchor and physically hold up to linebackers blitzing up the middle, or around the edge. Taylor also catches the ball well and projects as a three down player in the NFL.
Taylor is going to be picked in the early rounds of the 2013 NFL draft, and he will bring both sides of himself to the team that selects him. That should make fans of that team happy as they are getting a highly amusing character that just happens to have excellent football character as well.